Monday, December 31, 2012

Calico Beans

I have been making these beans for years.  The recipe originally came from my sister.  It is a very easy recipe to alter to suit your taste.  My sister makes these with ground beef, which would make them a nice main dish.  I usually leave the ground beef out and make these beans as a side dish.  You can also vary the type of beans you use.  I usually make these beans in the crock pot, but you can also put it all into a 13" x 9" in. pan and bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes.  Enjoy!

Calico Beans


1/2 cup bacon, cooked and chopped
1 (15 oz) can pork & beans
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15 oz) Great Northern beans, drained
1/2 cup ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
1 cup chopped onion
3 tbs cider vinegar
1 lb ground beef, if desired

Pour all ingredients into a slow cooker.  Cook on low four hours or on high for two hours.  Alternatively, put all ingredients in a 13x9 in. pan and bake at 350 for 45-60 min.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cornstarch Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's no surprise that like most things, chocolate chip cookies are just so much better made from scratch. Just when you think you have the perfect recipe for the classic chocolate chip cookies, a new recipe shows up.  

Lately, I have seen various recipes on Pinterest for chocolate chip cookies made with cornstarch that are supposed to be amazing!  Today I decided to give them a try.  I am a soft cookie person as opposed to a crunchy cookie person and these cookies promised to be soft and fluffy.  

These cookies were very easy to make and as promised, they turned out soft.  They are more of a cakey type cookie, which I love but if you prefer thin and crispy cookies then you may not care for these.

Cornstarch Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Sweet Pea's Kitchen via Pinterest

2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
2 cups all purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then add the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add half of the flour mixture and mix for 15 seconds. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between them. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until barely golden brown around the edges. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes before transferring cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

                                                         Picture source: 100 Best Cupcake Recipes

These cupcakes were fantastic!  For the cake part,  I just used my favorite recipe for pumpkin bars and added a maple frosting from the book, 100 Best Cupcake Recipes.

For the cupcakes:
 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Fill 24 muffin cups with cupcake liners.  In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the pumpkin, sugar, oil, and eggs on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.  Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.    Scoop the batter into the muffin cups, filling about 3/4 full.  Bake for 18 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Maple Frosting

3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) softened butter
3 tbs. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tbs milk (if necessary)

Beat butter in a large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add maple syrup and vanilla.  Beat until well blended.  Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy.  Add 1 to 2 tbs milk, if necessary, to reach desired spreading consistency (I did not add any milk).  Garnish the top with a candy pumpkin or candy corn.
Yield: about 2 1/2 cups.  

Friday, July 13, 2012

Roasted Broccoli

Roasted veggies are so delicious!  I discovered this dish many years ago and it is definitely my favorite way to eat broccoli.  This is a very simple side dish that can be served alongside beef, chicken, pork or fish.  Feel free to add other veggies to the broccoli.  Cauliflower, carrots and peppers would all be wonderful.

Roasted Broccoli


2 heads fresh broccoli, separated into florets
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp grated parmesan cheese (optional)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
In a large bowl, toss broccoli florets with the extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, pepper and garlic. Spread the broccoli out in an even layer on a baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven until florets are tender enough to pierce the stems with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle parmesan cheese (if desired) over broccoli before serving.

Baked Oven Fries

These fries were amazing!  They were easy to make and so delicious!  They will definitely be a regular in our house!

Baked Oven Fries
via:  Annie's Eats


3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into even sized wedges
5 tbs vegetable oil, divided
3/4 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp pepper, plus more to taste


Preheat the oven to 475˚ F. Place the potato wedges in a large mixing bowl. Cover with hot water; soak for 10-30 minutes. Put 4 tablespoons of the oil onto a heavy, rimmed baking sheet. Tilt the sheet side to side to evenly coat the pan with oil (a pastry brush can also help with this). Sprinkle the pan evenly with the salt and pepper. Set aside.

Drain the potatoes. Spread the wedges out on layers of paper towels or on clean kitchen towels. Pat dry with additional towels. Wipe out the now empty bowl so it is dry. Return the potatoes to the bowl and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Arrange the potato wedges on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 5 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the bottoms of the potatoes are spotty golden brown, 15-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 10 minutes. Using a metal spatula and tongs, flip each potato wedge keeping them in a single layer. Continue baking until the fries are golden and crisp, 5 -15 minutes. Rotate the pan as needed to ensure even browning.

When the fries are finished baking, transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain some of the grease. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

7-Up Biscuits

Image Source: Plain Chicken

This recipe is from Plain Chicken (love her!).  They were easy to make and came out so delicious!  The biggest challenge was that this recipe makes a very sticky dough.  It was not easy to pat them out and get them into the pan without having dough stuck to everything (even with using extra baking mix on the counter and my hands).  I think next time I make this, (and there will be a next time) instead of patting and cutting the dough I might just be a little more rustic and grab globs of dough and put it in the pan :-).  

7-Up Biscuits

2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup 7-up
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 450.
Cut sour cream into biscuit mix, add 7-Up. Makes a very soft dough.
Sprinkle additional biscuit mix on board or table and pat dough out. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a 9 inch square pan.  Place cut biscuits in pan and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chicken Parmesan

I have to let you in on a little secret.   Well, I guess it may not be a secret to some, but I have recently made the decision to join Weight Watchers.  Over the years I have seen the weight on the scale slowly creeping up, however the number I see now I have not seen since I was NINE months pregnant with my little ones.  While I do hope to shed some of these extra pounds, I really just want to be healthier.  I love junk food and sweets and I hate to exercise.  This lifestyle may have been ok 10 years ago but the older I get the more I notice this is not ok.  I want to feel better and I want to have more energy.  I have learned a great deal about healthier food choices, especially appropriate portion sizes, through the Weight Watchers website.  What I love about their program is that you can still eat whatever you just can't have as much as you want.  I have been experimenting with some of the Weight Watchers recipes and have not found one yet that wasn't a hit with my whole family!  That is a huge plus!

I debated about whether or not to post these recipes on my blog because I don't want to turn it into a "Healthy Food Blog".  And I have no intentions of doing that.  But when I thought about why I started this blog in the first place, I realized that yes, I want to share the recipes that I love with others, but first and foremost I started this blog as a way to keep track of all the recipes I love and want to use again.  I refer to my blog all the time when I meal plan and cook so in order for this blog to continue to serve me I decided to post the recipes I love because even if they are lower in calories and fat they are still delicious!

 Picture Source: Weight Watchers

This recipe comes from  It is the best chicken parmesan I have ever had.  I've never been a huge fan of chicken parm as I've always found it to be too rich.  This was so fresh tasting and so delicious.  I served mine with long grain and wild rice and mixed vegetables.  So yummy!

Chicken Parmesan
via: Weight Watchers

Prep: 10 min        Ready in: 75 min.         PointsPlus Value: 8

29 oz canned diced tomatoes, with Italian herbs (2 cans) 
1 tsp Italian seasoning 
1/2 tsp dried basil   
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper   
1 Tbsp sugar 
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (I omitted this)
1 pound(s) uncooked boneless skinless chicken breast(s), four 4-oz pieces   
1/2 cup(s) seasoned bread crumbs, Italian   
4 tsp olive oil, divided 
1 spray(s) cooking spray
3/4 oz shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese   
1/4 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese, fresh   

  • Combine first 5 ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 35 minutes. Stir in sugar and vinegar; simmer 5 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1⁄2-inch thickness, using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Dredge chicken in breadcrumbs.
  • Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 chicken breast halves to pan; cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Repeat procedure with remaining oil and chicken breast halves.
  • Arrange chicken in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pour tomato mixture evenly over chicken, and sprinkle with cheeses. Cover and bake at 350° for 35 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half, 3⁄4 cup tomato mixture, and 1 ounce cheese mixture).